Positive Youth Development Research

4-H learning experiences are based on the principles and practices of positive youth development. Positive youth development views young people as vital resources with assets and potentials to be developed rather than as problems to be managed. 

Youth-driven 4-H experiences provide youth access to safe learning environments; challenging experiences that build skills, competencies, and resiliency to address life’s challenges and to actively contribute to society; and partnerships with caring adults to help meet youths’ basic needs of belonging, mastery, independence, and generosity. 

4-H staff and volunteers intentionally address youths’ basic needs by integrating eight essential elements within 4-H youth development experiences: caring adults, safe environments, mastery, service, self-determination, inclusiveness, futuristic, and engagement.

National 4-H Study on Positive Youth Development: Tufts Study

4-H Resources

Vibrant Groups (pdf)

How Youth Develop (pdf)

Youth as Partners (pdf)

Involving Young People

Iowa 4-H Youth Development Plan  4H 3036B (pdf)

The Iowa 4-H Youth Development Experience
4H 3020A & B (pdf)

Iowa YD Resources

Iowa Collaboration for Youth Development

Iowa Department of Education (Learning Supports Initiative)

National YD Resources

Children, Youth, and Families Education and Research Network

The Finance Project

The Forum for Youth Investment

Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development

National Clearinghouse on Families and Youth

Reclaiming Youth Network

Search Institute

Youth Development Institute

Youth Development Strategies, Inc.

Youth on Board

Youth Work Matters

Other YD Research

Journal of Extension

Journal of Youth Development

New Directions for Youth Development